The time finally comes when you decide that your emotionally abusive partner is not going to turn into Prince Charming before the turn of the next millennium. So, regretfully, you make the decision that you’ll have to leave him. After all, he’s made you miserable for way too long. He’s alienated you from friends and family, he’s shattered your self-worth, he’s held you back in every possible way, and he’s roundly abused you more times than you care to mention.
In a word, your emotionally abusive husband has shattered – almost – every illusion you ever had about him, and he’s behaved inexcusably badly towards you and, most probably, your children, also.
You’ve got more than enough grounds to end it, and consign him to the scrapheap of history.
And yet, you’re still struggling.
Because you want a nice, clean, amicable break.
You want to part like civilized people.
If you could have a nice, sanitized break, it would be so much easier to put the difficult feelings behind you. You could put all that had happened in a neat little box, labelled “Past”, and glide forward. You’d be left knowing that you’ve come out a bad situation smelling of roses.
Better still, you’d know that you must be A Nice Person because, in the end, you and your emotionally abusive husband had finally seen eye to eye, and related to each other like reasonable people.
Is that really such a lot to ask?
Is it really a lot to ask a two year old NOT to have tantrums? Or an 8 week old puppy NOT to break house-training? Or a cat to curl up on the sofa amicably with a dear little mouse? Or a street brawler to discuss quietly with someone he feels is disrespecting him?
Do you see what I am saying?
When you ask for the wildly improbable, or creatures, you are setting yourself up for disappointment and frustration.
That is exactly what you do with an abusive man when you decide you’d like a nice, clean, amicable break-up. Experience has shown you that this man doesn’t do ‘nice’, or ‘clean’ or ‘amicable’ – he plays nasty, and dirty, and rough. And yet you fondly imagine that, on this occasion, he will rise to heights that are totally alien to his temperament. Because that would make you happy.
When has he EVER done anything to make you happy?
You’re breaking up with an emotionally abusive man because he is 50 Shades of Destructive. 50 Shades of Hurtful. 50 Shades of Crazy-making.
Much as you might love him to dig very deep and find several shades of civilized, it isn’t going to happen. Yes, he might play ‘Noble, Loving Partner’ for a short time, in order to ward off the evil eventuality. Divorce, remember, doesn’t really work for him. It means he will lose out financially, and in terms of his immediate creature comforts.
When your emotionally abusive husband married you, he did so on the understanding that you’d put up with “Worse”. A lot of Worse. That’s what he expects from you. How much evidence do you have that he wasn’t too bothered about the “Better” – as in “for better, for worse”.
An emotional abuser is someone whose hearing is very, very selective.
So when you say to him: “Dear one, as I see it our relationship has run its course. We need to go our separate ways as amicably as possible”, what do you suppose happens?
He doesn’t listen.
An emotionally abusive partner sets the agenda. You never do.
Amicable doesn’t work.
The thing that you need to do is focus on what you want to achieve, rather than how – in an ideal world – you’d like to achieve it. That means having a clear plan in mind, and working it. This serves two useful purposes:
1) He may even get the picture, and understand that you mean business
2) It means you’ve given serious thought to how you deal with someone who, at best, is NOT to be trusted, and at worst, could turn homicidal; and you know exactly how you need to proceed.
You don’t leave an emotionally abusive man because you want to have a nice memory of how your relationship ended. You leave because you’re dying inside, and know your only hope is to get away, and start over. Please remember that, when you feel tempted to slip into Mrs Nice mode. “But I only want things to be pleasant between us”, is wish that’s guaranteed to cost you dear.